Wednesday, July 28, 2004Non-Journal, Days Thirteen and Fourteen
We've had a couple of pretty easy shooting days; all evening, "golden-hour" stuff. A cold front has created some unseasonably cool weather (without the usual attending thunderstorms), so shooting in the evenings has been very pleasant. The scenes we've been shooting aren't anything too exciting: the main character goes out on his first streak, and the attendant bits thereto. We're doing more of the same tomorrow.
There has been some mild drama just the same. Lee is really having a hard time with the stuff DeVere said the other day, in addition to a new issue: DeVere has apparently decided he won't allow any frontal nudity in the film. Now, this isn't, y'know, that kind of film, but it is about a streaker. There was never any intention of having the lead actor run around naked (which would have been my way of doing it, damn the torpedoes); Lee has found a way to do it quite convincingly through CGI. He's good at that kind of thing. The problem is, DeVere has decided he doesn't want even a suggestion of frontal nudity... which is to say, he's not even cool with a bare-ass CGI stand-in.
This raises some tricky questions. First of all, DeVere has known from the day he signed on that this is a comedy about a streaker... and let's face reality, a naked guy can, under the right circumstances, be a pretty comical sight. You'd think at the very least that this would have been hashed out before we started shooting. But as things stand, DeVere is a member of SAG, and Lee had to sign a contract with him and SAG to secure his performance in the film. That contract stipulates that nudity is by the actor's consent only; the issue is that that consent, for whatever reason, has been "clarified" (or possibly altered) since the contract was signed. If DeVere refuses to allow even a CGI representation to flap his phallus around a little, then Lee's lost a tiny bit of creative control over his film to his lead actor. It's a classic struggle, and Lee is not at all happy about the situation.
Having said all that, Lee is really letting this get to him. You have to have a thick skin in this business, even on the lowest levels. Lee is straining under the pressure, and I think he's taking it much too personally. This shit happens, it's as much a part of the process as anything else; to be honest, it could be a LOT worse (I've seen it, it ain't pretty.) The problem is, Lee's despair is threatening to rub off, and that's bad mojo for the film. He's at a disadvantage in that he lacks anyone to handle this stuff for him (I'm sure as hell not going to volunteer), so he has to focus on too much stuff that has nothing to do with the production work immediately in front of him. It's a lot for anyone to take on; I fear that Lee's risking being overwhelmed.
My advice to him today was to carve out a day off for himself. He's filled his (and our) schedule so thoroughly that he literally doesn't have a single day off until the end of August -- an insane work schedule in any endeavor, possibly suicidal for a film. I don't know if he will or not, but he really, really should. Burning himself out before the production is finished will only mean that all this work was done in vain. |